If you want to see a spectacular chateau with no lines and no shoving crowds then you really should visit the Château de Chantilly, just 25 minutes north of Paris by train. The magnificent château houses the Condé Museum of paintings, while the thatched roof Hamlet (great for lunch or strawberries and Chantilly cream for afternoon tea) is hidden beyond the canal within Le Nôtre’s vast formal gardens. If you go in April you can see the newly renovated Living Horse Museum in the Grand Stables, as well as the new equestrian show, Kavallisté, which combines polyphonic singing with choreographed horse performances beneath the grand dome. If you have kids, they will love the pony show, but you can also take them to the Potager des Princes, where they can see rabbits, chickens, and geese in the manicured gardens (Easter activities for the family every day from April 12-May 4). The Domaine de Chantilly website has more info in French than English, but it’s handy for purchasing advance tickets: get the Domaine Pass (€20 for adults) if you’re not visiting during the horse show, or the Spectacle Equestrian (€30) which includes the Domain Pass plus the horse show on days it’s showing.